The Russian Financial Alliance Bank, which is co-owned by Ilyumzhinov and Syrian businessman Mudalal Khuri, was also blacklisted by Washington, Russia Today reports.
Ilyumzhinov confirmed to RIA-Novosti that he “visits Syria frequently” and has met with President Bashar Assad, but said that he was surprised to find himself on the sanctions list.
“I think it’s wrong when the Treasury Department allows one to visit some countries, and forbids another from doing the same,” he said.
The FIDE President said that he visits around a hundred countries annually, adding that “there’s no politics in chess; we promote our sport in many states and talk to everybody.”
Ilyumzhinov called his inclusion on the sanctions list a “provocation” as it comes ahead of his American visit on Monday, which will determine the city which is to provide the venue for the Chess World Championships, hosted by the US.
“I have no plans of canceling my trip,” he said. “If they have any questions, I’m eager to answer them. I’m ready to meet with US Department of Treasury representatives in New York or Washington.”
“I want to emphasize that I have never had any kind of commercial interests in Syria or Iran,” he told Russia’s Interfax news agency.
It should be noted that the idea of imposing sanctions on “people from Mr. Filatov’s list” was first suggested by the former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov during the FIDE Congress in Tromso, Norway.